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Jan 30 2014

Pepper Spray Cop Gets More Money Than His Victims

I’m sure you remember John Pike, the cop from UC Davis who pepper sprayed protesters who were sitting on the ground and (eventually) lost his job over it. He sued for worker’s compensation, claiming he suffered psychologically from the incident. And he won. And got more money than any of his victims did.

In October 2013, the Division of Workers’ Compensation awarded him $38,055 for the suffering he is said to have endured following the incident…

Following the incident, Pike reportedly lived at various locations. He received thousands of angry emails and text messages after the hacking group Anonymous leaked his contact information. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Pike was suspended with pay and earned $119,067 in 2011. He left the force in July 2012.

Earlier in 2013, after settling a federal lawsuit, the university paid a total of $1 million to the 36 people who were sprayed. Pike therefore received more compensation than each of the protesters he assaulted.

The man should be in jail. What he did was assault. The fact that he wore a badge does not change that fact.

17 comments

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  1. 1
    justsomeguy

    Aw, the poor guy doesn’t like being called a monster for doing monstrous things.

  2. 2
    iknklast

    And suspended with pay to boot. So he got paid for doing nothing.

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    How much does that work out to, hourly? 15 seconds of squirting and a year off with pay.

  4. 4
    Sastra

    I agree that the cop should be in jail for assault. But I’m not so sure that the judgment here is therefore unfair.

    I’ve been reading some persuasive arguments on the ethics of public shaming and digital mob justice and think they make a lot of sense. Unchecked outrage can and often does look very much like what it presumably fights against. Were I on the jury I’d have to consider the case on its own merits.

  5. 5
    Marcus Ranum

    @Sastra – I don’t see anyone supporting the campaign of public shaming and harassment. Like Ed, I think he should have been charged with assault and battery (possibly assault with a deadly weapon) and let the jury decide.

  6. 6
    Sastra

    @ Marcus Ranum — fair enough. I agree.

  7. 7
    timpayne

    Ed’s missing the forest for the trees. The real story here is that U.C. Davis ass. profs make an average of $63k, assoc. profs $70k, and full profs $107k, while a lard-assed campus pig makes $119k.

  8. 8
    Modusoperandi

    iknklast “And suspended with pay to boot. So he got paid for doing nothing.”
    It’s better than paying him for doing something.

  9. 9
    felidae

    Officer Pike won’t be out of a job long–Joe Arpio in Phoenix will hire him in a heartbeat as he has demonstrated he has what Joe would would to be impeccable attitudes and qualifications for the job

  10. 10
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I agree that the cop should be in jail for assault. But I’m not so sure that the judgment here is therefore unfair.

    I’ve been reading some persuasive arguments on the ethics of public shaming and digital mob justice and think they make a lot of sense. Unchecked outrage can and often does look very much like what it presumably fights against. Were I on the jury I’d have to consider the case on its own merits.

    Because we all know that people who do horrible, monstrous things should never face any consequences for it.

  11. 11
    smrnda

    On public shaming – in general I think it can be nasty, but becoming a cop means becoming a public figure whose actions should be open to public scorn. It isn’t like he’s being shamed over some non job related issue by nasty, bigoted people, he’s being legitimately shamed over abuse of power.

    All said, though I support unions and protections for workers unequivocally, some jobs (cop and prison guard come to mind) need more accountability and fewer protections, where action provoking public outrage get you fired, not suspended with pay. The public should have a say in who polices them.

    Given what thugs cops are, I’d like to see more of them go to prison, but regrettably, the ethos of corruption and the thin blue line run deep. I really think we need to totally restructure how we handle law enforcement in the US.

  12. 12
    lofgren

    Because we all know that people who do horrible, monstrous things should never face any consequences for it.

    I’ve noticed that anytime somebody comments on this blog that a particular consequence is inappropriate, or even that the method of arriving at the consequence is inappropriate, there’s always somebody ready to jump to and strawman that position the same way that Azkyroth does above.

    I shouldn’t even have to explain to you why an anonymous hacker group stealing personal data and posting it in a public space so that random yahoos can harass somebody electronically is not desirable way for a just society to punish people who do horrible, monstrous things.

    In this particular case, and given the unfortunate state of our justice system, electronic harassment by random yahoos turned out to be the only consequence that this particular horrible monster got. All told, it’s probably a net good that he got some amount of punishment even if neither the method nor the process were just.

    But just because you happen to think that this target of the hackers and harassers deserved the suffering that he got in this case does not mean that is a healthy way for a society to administer justice. Just because people do horrible and monstrous things does not mean that there are not appropriate and inappropriate responses.

  13. 13
    abb3w

    I seem to recall hearing elsewhere that is in part because this is worker’s compensation, and how it is designed to protect both employee and employer. More or less, injuries covered under WC laws may only be addressed through the WC process; the WC law includes “mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence” (as Wikipedia puts it). To balance that limitation of due process right to redress of grievance, WC laws do not allow a claim of employee misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance as an excuse for nonpayment. This seems to mean that if he sprained his wrist while shooting a student in the head with his revolver, he’d still be covered under worker’s comp and paid for the injury… though he’d also be likely to be prosecuted over the associated crime.

    It’s an imperfect system, but arguably better for workers in general that WC work that way.

    Of course, it would be nice if he also was prosecuted after getting his WC check. However, since he didn’t actually shoot a student in the head, that’s unlikely.

  14. 14
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    “I did a horrible thing and was told I was horrible. Psychological trauma!”

    Oh, fuck off.

  15. 15
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I shouldn’t even have to explain to you why an anonymous hacker group stealing personal data and posting it in a public space so that random yahoos can harass somebody electronically is not desirable way for a just society to punish people who do horrible, monstrous things.</blockquote.

    Of course it isn't desirable. But it's better than nothing; the perniciousness of allowing fuckheads to broadly abuse power in this fashion with impunity is almost impossible to overstate.

    In this particular case, and given the unfortunate state of our justice system, electronic harassment by random yahoos turned out to be the only consequence that this particular horrible monster got. All told, it’s probably a net good that he got some amount of punishment even if neither the method nor the process were just.

    So we’re not actually in disagreement.

  16. 16
    matty1

    “I did a horrible thing and was told I was horrible. Psychological trauma!”

    How about the following from the article Sastra originally cited?

    “She deserved everything she got!” I was told. Her tweet made her deserving of death and rape threats, of being followed and tracked, of being photographed by a stranger? They claimed yes: because “She was wrong”, remember, and they were right.

    I don’t want to defend the cop in any way, and I certainly don’t want to defend or attack people in cases I don’t know about but there must come a point when something done in the name of justice is not in fact justice and crowdsourcing ‘punishment’ to a huge number of people with unknown motives and abilities would seem to me to massively increase the risk of that happening.

  17. 17
    lofgren

    So we’re not actually in disagreement.

    Yes, we are, and you are once again displaying your hideously sloppy reasoning and reading comprehension skills. We are in disagreement that Sastra’s comment @4 can be accurately summarized by your assholery @10. The cop should be punished. That doesn’t mean that electronic harassment by other vigilante assholes like yourself is the right way to do it.

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